Yep, it really happened. In Pennsylvania. They paroled a violent felon — a guy who drew down on cops with a sawn-off shotgun — who immediately began violating the conditions of his parole. And they didn’t finally bring him in until after he’d blazed a trail of bloodshed.
Byron Allen was on parole. He’d been out a year, and nothing – not the troubling sexual behavior he first displayed in prison, which had caused officials to treat him as a sexual predator, nor the porn obsession and erratic behavior witnessed by parole staff shortly after his release, nor the consecutive positive results for cocaine around May and June, nor the skipped required treatments – made parole supervisors deem this man a threat.
Then he came up hot on a piss test for the same drug he was on when he attacked cops in 2002, PCP, “angel dust.”
[But] agency supervisors did what they had done for months in the face of Allen’s increasingly troubling behavior: They let him walk free. …police now say he was also on a one-man spree of murder and sexual assault.
When they turned him loose after that, he almost killed a Kensington, PA, woman. It wasn’t for lack of effort.
Philadelphia police have charged him with four sexual assaults between April and October – the last one, the 23-year-old Kensington woman, only two days after he was found with PCP in his system at the parole office in Northwest Philadelphia.
In Philadelphia, police say, he’d lure woman who worked as prostitutes, then slit their throats, beat them with bricks or choke them unconscious. In most cases, he’d sexually assault them.
Three suspected murders, four assaults.
Why didn’t his parole officer revoke him? He wanted to, but couldn’t get approval from supervisors.
…the officer could not spur his supervisors to action.
This fits with what parole agents have been telling me for a few years: In the state’s effort to decrease swelled prison populations – and reduce recidivism rates – it’s harder to lock up some people who really should be off the streets.
The unstirrable supervisors
Leo Dunn, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole… couldn’t comment. Neither could the supervisors who kept Allen on the street. Dunn called the case a “tragic situation” and said that board has launched an internal investigation to “ensure no policies were violated.”
Sure, at least three women are murdered and four more raped, but it’s all okay if all the policy tick-boxes had ticks in ’em.
Some of the same people were involved in this that paroled Rafael Jones, a name that still makes Philly blue shirts see red.
Like back in 2012, when Police Officer Moses Walker Jr. was killed by Rafael Jones, a parolee who’d been released ten days earlier. I wrote how parole officials had failed to fit Jones with an electronic monitoring device or lock him up after failing a drug test. Hearings were held, three officials were fired (one of whom now has her job back). Reforms were put in place.
One of the people that turned Jones loose to kill Walker was back on the job to let Allen loose to kill at least three.
But naturally, there’s a bleeding-heart judge at the center of it all, whose very being thrums with sympathy for murderers like Allen and Jones, and who cares about their victims … something less than any measurable amount
Former Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner, who now serves as the city’s Deputy Managing Director for Criminal Justice, says that move toward treatment and rehab nationwide reflects recognition that for too long we have been locking up people for longer than necessary. Excessive incarceration is not only expensive, he notes. It destroys families and communities.
Yeah, unlike, say, the murders that he prefers, as a matter of public policy.